Here’s a fun website I just discovered – “fun” being defined as a geography/nature-oriented site that my youngest loves. Amusing Planet – sort of like Atlas Obscura, but less complicated and more focused. I like it. We like it.
Speaking of such things, check this out:
A cache of bound National Geographic magazines from the late 70’s, snagged from the “FREE” bin at our local 2nd and Charles – a used book/CD/DVD/Game chain that’s an offshoot of Books-A-Million (HQ here in Bham).
It pleased my youngest, who was thrilled to get a subscription to NG three years ago, but has of late soured on it, remarking that it is “too political and boring.”
I’m sure there is no scarcity of never-looked-at bound magazines out there, collecting dust in stacks and warehouses across the land before they are pulped.
This is from last summer, but in the great tradition of “OMG AUDREY HEPBURN DIED” Facebook posts, just came across my feed this week.
Close to a century ago, New York’s Coney Island was famed for its sideshows. Loud-lettered signs crowded the island’s attractions, crowing over tattooed ladies, sword swallowers — and even an exhibition of tiny babies.
The babies were premature infants kept alive in incubators pioneered by Dr. Martin Couney. The medical establishment had rejected his incubators, but Couney didn’t give up on his aims. Each summer for 40 years, he funded his work by displaying the babies and charging admission — 25 cents to see the show.
In turn, parents didn’t have to pay for the medical care, and many children survived who never would’ve had a chance otherwise.
Lucille Horn was one of them. Born in 1920, she, too, ended up in an incubator on Coney Island.
“My father said I was so tiny, he could hold me in his hand,” she tells her own daughter, Barbara, on a visit with StoryCorps in Long Island, N.Y. “I think I was only about 2 pounds, and I couldn’t live on my own. I was too weak to survive.”
She’d been born a twin, but her twin died at birth. And the hospital didn’t show much hope for her, either: The staff said they didn’t have a place for her; they told her father that there wasn’t a chance in hell that she’d live.
“They didn’t have any help for me at all,” Horn says. “It was just: You die because you didn’t belong in the world.”
But her father refused to accept that for a final answer. He grabbed a blanket to wrap her in, hailed a taxicab and took her to Coney Island — and to Dr. Couney’s infant exhibit.
“How do you feel knowing that people paid to see you?” her daughter asks.
“It’s strange, but as long as they saw me and I was alive, it was all right,” Horn says. “I think it was definitely more of a freak show. Something that they ordinarily did not see.”
Horn’s healing was on display for paying customers for quite a while. It was only after six months that she finally left the incubators.
— 4 —
Since Thursdays have been short, I’ve been tossing the Daily Homeschool Report for that day here. Short not that much longer, however, since yesterday was sadly the last day for the homeschool sessions that have been meeting at the Cathedral – major props to the mom who has organized and managed these mornings. M has really enjoyed these six weeks of drama and science classes – the sessions ended with every group doing a performance, from the youngest singing and reciting the Hail Mary to a group recitation of “Casey at the Bat” from my son’s group performing a short play – Bean Soup.
— 5 —
We did squeeze in some more school in the afternoon. Fractions using the EnVision 6th grade book – as I mentioned, I have the text and CD with printables from my older son, so we are just going with that. Finished up the War of 1812 with workbook pages from the text and some discussion of the experiences of soldiers in the war from the book of primary source material. I know there were rabbit trails, but it was almost 24 hours ago, so I unfortunately have forgotten them!
The Writing and Rhetoric chapter ended with an exercise in ordering paragraphs of an essay on the hardships the Pilgrims experienced, and I was pleased because it was actually more challenging and subtle than such exercises usually are.
Then a good practice – he has this sonata competition on Saturday, and although we might be a little tired of this piece, in a strange way, we are not – he is really discovering how interesting digging deep into a piece of music can be.
Speaking of music, our Cathedral music director has begun putting the Orders of Worship on line: Check them out, especially the “About Today’s Music” at the end of each one. It’s just excellent catechesis.
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!